It was a cold and rainy night for the soccer match between the Waunakee Warriors and the Deforest Norskies. The weather couldn't keep the fans away, though, from this Badger Conference matchup.
With some injuries in key spots, the Warriors had to do some shuffling around to set their lineup. The starting defenders for the Warriors were Jada Dayne, Erin Freeman, and Maddie Lange. Alex Ziegler is back from an ankle injury, but replaced the injured Kaelin Franklin in the center midfield position. Ziegler filled the spot nicely, and could see herself in the position again. The Warriors are flush with excellent defenders, and looking for a third center midfielder to rotate in the exhaustive position.
The Warriors started the game fired up from a pre-game talk from coach Jesus Torres. Mouille came out tearing up the Norskie back line, and was able to send crosses in to the goal area. In the 19th minute, Grace Lujan powered her way through a defender to send one of those crosses into the back of the net.
Mouille's work on the front also earned the Warriors a couple corners. Lujan served a corner ball up right inside the 6 yard line and Olivia Zaleski tallied her first goal of the season by rising above the defender and knocking the ball over the line. In addition to this goal, Zaleski made huge contributions to the game. As one of the Warrior's center midfielders, Zaleski is learning to take control of the game, and dictate play on both the offensive and defensive ends. Rarely does a Warrior attack start without the ball finding her at some point. She will be key to the Warrior's success throughout the season.
The Warriors enjoyed a heavy percentage of the possession in this match, and the Norskie's chances on goal were few and far between. They were able to break through late in the first half, and a through ball saw a Norskie forward and Warrior keeper Olivia Mecham racing to the ball. Mecham timed her slide perfectly, and met the ball just before colliding with the forward, sending her flying head over heels behind Mecham. The Warrior defense only gave up one more opportunity on goal in the game, and again Mecham made an excellent save.
The first half ended with the Warriors up 2-0. Coach Torres wasn't satisfied, though. In his halftime speech, Torres told the girls a 2 goal lead is a dangerous lead, and they need to go out and score a few more. When the whistle blew, they did just that.
Mouille added to her stats with a great individual effort 3 minutes into the second half. She received a ball into the right corner, and using her speed and agility, beat her defender down the goal line. She maintained her composer and dribbled right towards the goal. She had teammates running in for crosses at the 12 yard line, but the keeper failed to honor the shot, and Mouille snuck a goal in right inside the post.
Samantha Duhr made her return to the lineup tonight after about two weeks out with an injured ankle. With starting forward Megan Ejzak resting some hip troubles, Duhr saw a lot of playing time in her first game back. Duhr was able to connect some passes with fellow forwards, Lujan and Mouille, and saw three good opportunities on goal that she wasn't able to finish. She didn't let this get her down though. Macie Maulbetsch flicked a ball towards goal in the 71st minute that Duhr ran onto and buried into the net, tallying her first goal of the season. Duhr's off the ball runs, passing, and ability to get shots off suggest we'll be seeing a lot more of her this season.
Also back to the lineup tonight was Junior Alisha Nolden. Nolden tore her ACL last year, and wasn't expected back for the whole season. Her hard work off the field is paying off, though, and she was able to get some solid playing time in tonight's game, and proved she has a lot to contribute to this team.
The Warriors beat the Norskies, 4-0, and improve to 4-1-0. The Warriors travel just down the highway this Friday and Saturday to participate in the Middleton Invitational. Their first game is Friday April 25th at 5pm against the DePere Redbirds. The forecast is clear and low 60 degrees, so come out and support the girls!